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BoxWorks 2012: Connectivity, Not Competition, Drives Next Gen Business Software

Box’s annual customer conference kicked off in San Francisco yesterday, but the belles of the ball weren’t available for ogling until this morning’s keynote.  After dancing to “Gangnam Style” and running through a number of obvious jabs at massive companies like Oracle, Google and Microsoft, Box founder and CEO Aaron Levie miraculously still had enough time to unveil a new UI, the expansion of OneCloud, and Box Embed, an embeddable framework that essentially allows the company’s partners and customers to plug the full Box experience into existing applications.

“By extending Box’s enterprise content and collaboration across today’s leading business applications, Box is transforming the way people and organizations access, share and manage their business information in the cloud,” explained Levie. “We’re making it incredibly simple for our partners and developers to leverage the power of Box from within their services, and to provide a central content layer for enterprise productivity.”

Pro Tip: Play Nice with Others

Integrating solutions is nothing new to the enterprise space, but today’s focus on sharing certainly makes the importance of it all the more apparent — especially when it helps put content front, center and in the right context.

“Every part of our business in some way has some piece of content associated with it,” noted Whitney Bouck, General Manager of Box Enterprise. “Content has really become the currency of modern business. It has to be an asset that you protect, that you leverage and that you take full advantage of.”

While exchanging that currency in the consumer space has been made easy with social platforms and advancements in mobile technology, I think Box’s announcements are evidence that we’re starting to realize the same must be made true in the enterprise arena. In other words, the bevy of tools we use, no matter their purpose, need to be just as connected to each other as people who use them. The benefits of focusing on managing that connectivity (pell-mell style would result in information overload) rather than the competition bit might just yield exactly what organizations need to push forward successfully into the next wave of business.

Example: Levie stressed that this approach doesn’t force the kind of vendor lock-in that one would normally expect out of enterprise software. And then he made a crack about Apple maps. (Of course.)

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